computer boyMediaSmarts, a non-profit digital literacy organization, surveyed 5,436 young Canadian students across the country. They ranged in age from grades 4 to 11. Questions about sexuality were limited to students in grades 7 through 11.

The evidence showed a concerning pattern of teenaged boys seeking out pornography regularly. Accounts of “sexting” were also commonplace.

40% of the boys admitted to looking for porn online. There were a significant number whose viewing of porn was a frequent behavior. A third of boys were daily users. Boys are still developing their sexuality and their ideas of what is normal in sex and what is appropriate in relationships. What impact is heavy exposure to pornography having in these areas?

(Ref: MediaSmarts – other contents include online bullying, digital literacy skills, life online, teacher perspectives, games, resources, lesson plans)

A British survey published by Psychologies Magazine in 2010 found that 81% of 14-to-16-year-olds (regardless of gender) had looked at porn online at home, while 63% called it up on their phones; a third of them had seen sexual images online when they were 10 or younger.

“Pornography is instantly available and has permeated the culture to the point where its dominant messages about women, men, sex and power have permeated areas that we don’t think of as porn: advertising, film and television, “ says Michael Messner, a sociology and gender studies professor at the University of Southern California.

SO WHAT TO DO ABOUT OUR BOYZ GONE WILD?

In a ‘raunch culture’ where most boys see online porn before they’re out of grade school, will they end up as disrespectful pigs? A new wave of educators seeks ways to build better men.

The Wiseguyz Program curriculum includes sessions on sexual diversity, fatherhood, emotional stress, sexual consent and conflict resolution, among many others.

“Boorish behavior goes in and out of style: We’re in on a bad swing right now … a more raunchy swing of the cycle” says Windsor’s Prof. Eleanor Maticka-Tyndale who holds the Canada Research Chair in social justice and sexual health.

There is work to be done.

PORN ADDICTION IS A HEALTH ISSUE

For years Kiwi doctors and therapists have seen a surge in young men seeking help for erectile dysfunction which appears to have no physical cause. Porn watching is a health issue and countries all over the world are now scrambling to deal with it. (Alison Mau, Sunday Star Times, April 16, 2017)

Canada’s Health Committee is looking at the public health effect of online violent and degrading sexually explicit material on children, women and men.

There is not much evidence on how to control the behaviour but there is a treatment industry that needs this to be a disease. There is a dearth of evidence-based therapeutic literature. (Valerie Voon, MD, Ph.D, neuropsychiatrist, University of Cambridge)

“Sex continues to be a difficult area to work in but it needs to be treated as a science just like any other field.”  — Nicole Prause, PhD, researcher in the department of psychiatry at University of California, Los Angeles. (Monitor on Psychology, Vol. 45, No. 4, April 2014)